With all the mixed messages in the media, it can be hard to figure out how much muscle you can build naturally and what you can realistically expect in terms of gains. We all want more muscle and leaner bodies. Let’s be honest – how many of you are working out only for better health?
Personally, if all I wanted was better health, I would do yoga or Pilates. Instead, I lift weights four to five times a week and do lots of cardio. What I want is a great body. I’m sure you want the same thing for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can be healthy and have a perfect body – these two things don’t exclude each other.
So how much muscle can you build naturally and what does it take?
Natural vs. Unnatural Bodybuilders
More than 99% of bodybuilders and fitness models are taking steroids – this is not a secret anymore. If you see a huge guy with veins popping out all over his body, you can be sure he’s on drugs. This is a matter of personal choice.
Steroids won’t grow your muscles overweight – they will only enhance your workouts, speed up recovery, and help you build muscle faster. Regardless of the drugs used, you’ll never look like that huge guy at the gym unless you work out really hard. What about those who don’t want to use drugs for one reason or another? How much muscle can they expect to put on?
What’s My Genetic Muscular Potential?
With a clean diet and hard training, most people will be statistically average in terms of total muscle potential. There are several formulas that can help you determine how much muscle you can gain naturally, such as the Casey Butt’s Frame Size Model, the Alan Aragon Model, and the McDonald Model. Here’s a basic formula that works for most people:
(Height in centimeters – 100) = Maximum bodyweight in kilograms when ripped (5-6% body fat)
A number of factors will influence your ability to build muscle, including your age, gender, activity level, genetics, body type, and overall health. Your training experience, as well as well your workout routine, should be considered too.
The average amount of muscle you can gain naturally is two pounds per month. Be aware that it’s physiologically impossible to gain more than one pound of muscle per week.
Most people expect greater gains at a much faster rate. Some start taking drugs to speed up the process. Others spend thousands of dollars on supplements that they don’t actually need. Only a few understand that building muscle is not as easy as taking a bunch of pills and working out three times a week.
No matter how much you train and how well you eat, you won’t gain 20 pounds of muscle in one month naturally. With proper training, you could gain between 20 and 30 pounds of muscle in the first year, up to 15 pounds the second year, five to 10 pound the third year, and three to five pounds in the next few years.
Without drugs, your potential is limited. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t look your best. Hard training and clean eating are key to a perfect body with lean muscle.
How to Speed Up Muscle Growth Naturally
There are a few things you can do to speed up muscle growth naturally. We’ll talk about this another time. Manipulating the speed of your reps, adding in bodyweight exercises, and increasing your protein intake will definitely help. In addition to intense training, supplements can make a huge difference in the results you experience. All you can do is to be patient, eat healthy, and train hard. Each of these things will bring you one step closer to your goals.